|Both the influencer and the company are brands in their own right and therefore adhere to a certain professional standard. / Photo by: gstockstudio via 123rf|
Working with influencers is different for certain aspects of the industry. The different sides one encounters when working in the influencer world are built with their own unique challenges, governed by a different set of rules while still all working together. From the point of view of companies getting bombarded by influencer requests at every turn, to the point of view of some people as big as venture capitalists, the world of the influencer moves to the beat of its own odd drum.
So outside the influencer themselves, what’s it like for the rest of the industry to work with them?
A “Transactional” Kind of Business
DigiDay, an online trade magazine for the online media, reported on this phenomenon. When asked about insider info on how it is working with influencers, a luxury hotel group’s public relations and marketing executive, who chose to remain anonymous, said that much of the work done by influencers for them is transactional.
There is no denying that there is a stereotypical entitlement attached to the influencer model, and it is the reason why a luxury hotel in Dublin just saw fit to ban influencers altogether. This executive said they will continue to work with influencers but, with the way things are going, they believe that it’s only a matter of time before people abandoned this kind of “perfect lifestyle” marketing.
For one thing, they are right in assuming that the audience is only becoming smarter each time; no one influencer can stay in a perfect bubble forever because so many are already over the whole fully-photoshopped, tan skin, blue seas getaway that has been plied to us in the last decade.
The executive also explains that, while they still make use of influencer help by offering them an overnight stay perhaps, or a day at the spa, they still carefully choose which influencer to give them to and the type of influence and the reach of influence they hold.
“Some people think the way to go is to work with travel influencers, but they tend to replicate the content that we as marketers and PR and communications professionals in the travel industry have already created,” they elaborate. “Travel influencers tend to capture themselves in images in a very unimaginative way.”
Big companies have standards as much as influencers do, though, it’s just the entitlement aspect of it that throws a wrench in most professional relationships when it comes to this. According to MediaKix, an influencer-company partnership will be smooth-sailing so long as both the company and the influencer are on the same page when it comes to brand relevance and trust.
See, both the influencer and the company are brands in their own right and therefore adhere to a certain professional standard. The only difference is that the influencer doesn’t adhere to a standard as strict as bigger companies do.
The Venture Capitalist Audience
You heard that right—venture capitalists are also keeping up with this social media trend. According to a report by Tech Crunch, a website reporting on the business and tech world, venture capitalists are also eager to jump into this burgeoning economy and its boundless potential to take over the market world.
Jamison Hill, a Bain Capital Ventures senior principal, said that the shift of the venture capitalists’ focus to influencers and the whole economy they have managed to build from the bottom up was thanks to the three phases that led the influencer economy to where it is now.
According to Hill, these three phases were essential to understanding why capitalists began taking an interest in the livelihood of these influencers. He explains that the first step was the one that didn’t seem as obvious: the rise of the social media platforms.
With YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter on the rise, everyone first thought it was just another way to communicate. And maybe that was the first intention behind it, but influencers struck gold when they realized, along with companies ahead of the learning curve, that social media can be used as effective marketing tools and can reach wider audiences.
|Social media can be used as effective marketing tools and can reach wider audiences. / Photo by: scyther5 via 123rf|
The third phase is the most recent phase: influencer marketing is now shaping up to be part of the marketing playbook.
It could not have been put any better by Neil Robertson, the founder of Influence, a networking tool for influencers:
“2020 will be a watershed year for investment in businesses around the creator economy. Influencers and creators are small businesses and if you think about all the things that small businesses need these days to succeed, they will be repurposed for the influencer marketing space.”
Robertson’s vision is one shared by many VCs and startup companies in the industry like Karat, for example, a startup company planning to start a “bank for creators,” a venture focused on “lending to individuals through a revenue-share agreement.”